- Sunday, March 14, 2010
- Pain Medications in Palestinian Households: Safety and Wastage Analysis
- Published at:The International Journal of Risk and Safety in Medicine, Volume 21, Number 4, 2009, pp. 193-200.
Background and Objective: Inappropriate use and storage of pain medications may cause unnecessary wastage and potential harm. The objective of this study was to investigate the extent of storage, wastage and potential harm of pain medications stored in households in Nablus district, Palestine. Methodology: This is a cross sectional, anonymous, questionnaire-based study. The drug product inventory in the surveyed households was investigated and family members were interviewed. Data were coded, entered and analyzed using statistical package for social sciences software (SPSS 16). Results: A total of 415 households in Nablus district, Palestine were surveyed. The total number of medications in the surveyed households was 5505; the mean ± SD was 13.3 ± 7.8. The total number of pain medications stored was 1103, constituting 20% of the stored medications. The average number of pain medications was 2.7 ± 1.8 per household. Pain medication storage was not associated with most of the tested demographic variables. More than one third (39.7%) of pain medications were stored in relatively unsafe places around the house within the reach of children. The percentages of unused pain medications, expired, and those with no clear expiration date were 20%, 14.9% and 12.9% respectively. Estimated pain medication wastage in the 415 households and in the whole Nablus district was 4,000 USD and 384,000 USD respectively. The most common pain medications encountered in households were: acetaminophen (42%), ibuprofen (24%) and diclofenac (18%). Conclusion: Pain medications were frequently encountered in Palestinian households, and relatively large percentage was being wasted. Keeping a limited stock of pain medication may avoid overuse of more expensive health services and might thus be cost-saving as well.